Family

Family

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Travel Dates Trip One/ Paperwork Queen

So, our first travel dates were actually set for this week. They however needed to be changed until after the Holidays.Fortunately we had not gotten our tickets so we were fine with it. Actually I felt really relieved because we would not have returned until Christmas Day and I really did not want to be away from the kids during Christmas.Our travel dates are now that we need to be in Vladivostok from Jan 17th to the 22nd.This gives me more time to prepare ourselves and the kids for when we are gone.Leaving a household with 5 kids that go to five different schools, homework,activities plus running the household is a very tall order for others to tackle . On a positive note I have been able to get a great start on the Court Dossier.I think we can get most of it done before we travel exept the medicals.They are only good for three months and I do not want to do them over AGAIN! We just finished our home study update AGAIN plus we needed to update a few docs.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Beautiful Baby Girl !

Three weeks ago we recieved a referral of a sweet baby girl in Vladivostok, Russia! It was not until last week that we FINALLY recieved her medicals though. We have ACCEPTED the opportunity to go meet this VERY TINY little one. This tiny petite little one is 12 months old. She was born premature and will have some catching up to do.
Our Travel dates are looking to be very soon!! I will know dates for sure in a few days. Looks like we are playing the adoption game of rushing then waiting then rushing again!
We are VERY exited but, go into this again with a guarded heart. We pray for wisdom,and divine guidance as we meet this adorable baby girl.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WAIT

Author Unknown
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I plead and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait."
"Wait? You say, wait!" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heard?
By faith, I have asked, and am claiming Your Word.
My future and all to which I can relate hangs in the balance,
and You tell me to wait?
I'm needing a "Yes", a go-ahead sign,
or even a "No" to which I can resign.
And Lord, You promised that if we believe
we need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
"I'm weary of asking! I need a reply!
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied once again "You must wait."
So, I slumped in my chair,
defeated and taut and grumbled to God,
"So, I'm waiting...for what?"
He seemed, then, to kneel and His eyes wept with mine,
and He tenderly said "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could vie, and please you would be.
You would have what you want - but, you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You'd not know the power I give to the faint.
You'd not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there;
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me;
When the darkness and silence were all you could see.
You'd never experience the fullness of love
as the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You'd know that I five and I Save, for a start,
but you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The flow of my comfort late into the night,
the faith that I give when you walk without sight,
the depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.
You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that "My grace is sufficient for thee."
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true,
But, Oh, the Loss! If I lost what I'm doing in you!
So, be silent, My child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft' may My answers seem terribly late
My most precious answer of all is still,


"Wait."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Update

Seriously, I do not know how to begin other than to say thank you to all who have prayed,fasted and helped us in so many ways ! Being one that likes to be independent and have it all together it has been a bit difficult task to do.Having SO many kind acts of service and prayers have truly lifted our burdens.

The good news is that our son is home now and we are grateful for the progress that has been made. After driving an hour and a half each way every day to the hospital (Thanks to L.A. traffic) we are glad he is home ! Although we continue to monitor a very delicate situation we are grateful for the progress we have made.

I have been asked if we are going to still continue with our adoption plans? The answer is absolutely YES! When we are called to do something we do it! Gods timing may not always be when we might think though. Without elaborating too much I will say that everything that has happened in this roller coaster adoption journey is beginning to make more sense. My new motto is to simply relax and enjoy the journey. ( even though it is harder than one might think! ) When it is time we WILL watch the miracle of it all come together.

We are now reaching near the top of the waiting list for a girl under 2 from Russia. When that will be is hard to say exactly but, I am sure it will be the perfect timing. In the meanwhile, we are trying to regain a sense of normal back in our home. Although not completely there it WILL happen too. Perfect timing I know.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Battling the Storms !

The last month has proven to me once again how much we depend on the lord to help us.Even though I know that weathering the storms of life gives us experience and fine tunes us to be more like God it certainly is not easy !! We have been battling a frightening, stressful, and emotionally draining health issue with one of our children .We are so praying the next few weeks will be the beginning to bring the proper treatment needed.It is so hard to see your child suffer and not be able to fix it in addition realizing this will need to be very carefully treated and managed for the rest of their life.
Any extra prayers are greatly appreciated !

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Baptism and Birthdays




Victoria turned eight this month so she had the privilege of being baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!She was blessed to be baptized by her daddy.We are so proud of her decision! She was baptized in the same baptism dress as her sisters. We also celebrated a birthday for Reece as well.He always gets a great celebration since his birthday is July 4th!

Bahamas / Florida









We had agreat time on our trip to the Bahamas!We spent a couple days in the Miami area before we left on our cruise from the Port of Miami.The beaches in the Bahamas are so incredible! They are sooo blue and warm!! The sand is soo soft and fine! Snorkeling was a favorite for the kids.The ocean water here in California is so much colder so I Loved having the water be warm!The cruise liner was really nice but, living in two cabins with 5 kids gave us a bit of a lot of togetherness !Coming home again made us appreciate our own space!These times together however, are priceless as the kids are growing up so fast!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

We will not give up ! There is a plan !

From the title of this post you may have already gathered the little sweet baby boy referred to us no longer belongs to us. He will however have a home with another family .First , I will say this had nothing to do with his health or any fault of our agency.Second, we have learned the possible up and downs and risks of adoption and that having a referral does not mean they are meant to be ours.Third,we are grateful it was decided at at this point in the process. Fourth,despite another hard emotional week we are at peace and know there is a plan.We will continue our journey to complete our family. Since international adoption has been such a huge roller coaster ride we have opted to open more doors and start domestic adoption in addition to continuing with international . We are not expecting another referral from Russia any time soon because we have requested the next referral be a girl.( long story I will share another time)Some day we will understand this spiritual journey better but, for now we continue on enjoying the blessings we do have.The next couple weeks we will enjoy the blessing of our family as we spend time together cruising around the Bahamas .

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Here Is The Graduate !

Miracles do happen! Despite being diagnosed with autism at age 3 he has come so very far from that time. We were told he may never talk or learn much independance.Through hard work, intensive therapies and much dedication on behalf of many teachers, specialists and yes, his parents he graduated with a GPA of 3.8! Many of his teachers and therapists through out his life were at his graduation. He was given the title of POSTER CHILD FOR AUTISM from those who have worked with him.

Autism is not something that will go away BUT, there is hope and resources to help these kids try to reach there fullest potential! Reece will be attending college in the Fall. I could really never have asked for a better gift than a son who has taught me so much. Since I was pretty young when he was a little boy I guess you could say he has helped me grow up too!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

HE IS A CUTIE ! !

We have accepted a referral of a very cute blue eyed 15 month old boy from Siberia! He has the chunkiest cheeks you just want to pinch !! He appears to be pretty healthy and pray that will remain true. We go into this again with a guarded heart but, knowing all along that much faith is required .Travel for trip 1 will probably be in August. A couple of more documents are needed for the DOE so, I will be busy getting it done this week. Here we go again!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A few pics from the week

A visit to the Griffith Observatory in L.A.
Brianna and Caroline hanging together.

Our little fish Victoria swimming with the shark.Pool time and green chlorine hair season has arrived !


Family time at the pier in Santa Barbara.



There is nothing like taking a nap with our fluffy furry friend Zorro.He makes for a very soft pillow!




Still hanging on to Hope !

Well, I will say this journey of adoption has taught me many things and continues to do so .Even when things tend to go from one disappointment to the next I continue to hang on to what we know as Hope! I do believe that someday I will look back and see the growth and faith this journey has given me. I have spoken several times to our Agency these last few weeks. They still have not received the referrals they are expecting from their region in Siberia.That being said even then we REALLY hope we will be able to accept the referral!Our documents continue to sit and "Age". I am soo tired of having to redo docs, redo notaries. authentications, fingerprints and on and on because they may expire! Things in Russia slow way down in the summer in regards to adoption so we shall see what happens. I no longer even have an estimated time frame because I just do not know! In regard to adoptions in Kyrgyzstan nothing will even be addressed until after the elections and even then it will be uncertain to say the least.I would have never thought we have two dossiers for two countries sitting at the top of the list and we still wait and wait.Really, I am not complaining but, it is just frustrating ! Again I come down to HOPE! We certainly are not getting younger and the kids are growing up .At this point we will just follow the plan according to Gods timing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Performance by Brianna

This is Brianna ( in red skirt on right) performing in her High School Choir Finale. She is doing a duet singing Miss independence ! The title fits her soo well! It was hard to get a clear video because it was outside at night but, she was awesome! This was also the performance she was practicing for before she had the mishap with the car! Yes, the car was totalled! You will need to pause the music in my favorite music box in the left side bar at the bottom to hear the video.

video

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mom there is a problem!

I recieved one of those DREADED calls today where the pictures tell the story. Brianna was leaving the school parking lot after her rehearsal and within seconds the car she drives has taken on a new appearance. She was wearing her seatbelt and the airbag protected her from the frontal impact.
She is fine except for the airbag burns and seat belt bruises.We are VERY grateful for that and know it could have been a lot worse.I am obviously very glad no one else was in the car and no one else was hurt. Being a mom of two teenage drivers is a bit scary as one can see. Looks like mom will be doing some more driving around for a while! It just seemed a lot easier when the kids were small and you could put them in a carseat!

To add to the exitement of the day AS I am posting there is a rattle and a shake that rumbled through the house called as minor earthquake.
In addition to everything today 3 of my kids have the flu! OK I need calgon to take me away!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A little light

The last couple days I have really prayed to know if we are on the right track with the adoption and to have it somehow be confirmed again that we indeed are heading in the right direction. We have had so many twists and turns that doubt has sometimes taken over (I guess I am one who always needs confirmation over and over again)It has never been whether adoption is right for us but more the uncertainty, delays, stalls, having to decline referrals etc that sometimes makes me second guess myself whether we had it right. Today, two different things happened to indeed give me the strong confirmation needed to continue on our course.I am grateful for that little light that has been granted to continue on. We are looking forward to another referral soon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A General Update

I have had several requests to update so I will share as much as I feel comfortable sharing on a blog. In reality I have tried very hard not to let myself get caught up entirely with adoption stuff. I have felt a need to detach a bit and regroup. I have focused more on things that I CAN control like spending more quality time with my family.In regards to adoption we have had some more disappointments and have not been able to feel comfortable accepting a referral.Our faith is being challenged but, we remain positive that the right child Will cross our path.

Last week we had a little family get away and flew to Utah for a ski trip and visit family. Daren, his brother and some of the kids went sking in Park City while the rest of us shopped and just hung out with cousins. I had forgotten how cold snow is! Lets just say I am not sure I would survive comfortably in winter outside of So. California anymore!

Easter was a lovely day spent with family. We are normally back in Switzerland at Easter but, we had changed our plans because we were suppose to be in Russia during this time . We will see what happens in the next couple months so we can reschedule everything.I have to admit my heart has been feeling heavy this past few days as my thoughts have been on my dear sweet church friend who died this past week. Her husband and four young children will miss her dearly! I know Gods arms are tightly wrapped around them and that brings peace.

We will see what the next while brings.Today I am headed to get our USCIS fingerprints updated.I can not even count how many times I have been fingerprinted since we started the adoption process! How many fingerprints does one need to prove you are not a criminal ? I know it is for the protection of children so we just have to go along with the process!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Autism Awareness

This next month of April is dedicated to help others become more aware of Autism. Many thousands of families deal with all the challenges, frustrations,tears, and immense growth from being parents of Autistic children which includes our family ! 18 years ago as a very young mother and wife I had no idea what God would be teaching me for many years to come. In these past years we have learned things we never thought we would and become advocates for our children who can not do this on their own.We not only help our children to reach their full potential through immense amount of hours of therapy and alternative teaching but, also become educaters to teach others and help them try to understand what the challenges these children have.Autism is not just a challenge for the child but for the entire family! Over the last couple decades Autism has increased by leaps and bounds with no specific causes although there are speculations which includes environmental issues and increased vaccinations too close together.Whatever the cause these are children of God who need deserve to reach their potential. These children teach us so much !These children despite their challenges and difficult nature at times have feelings just like all the rest of us. Our son has benefited from all that new developments in this area and from all those who have accepted him despite his challenges which has come through educating others .I know that many others can benefit too when we can learn about and support those children and families who deal on a daily basis with the challenging issues associated with Autism!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Roller Coaster Continues....

Where do I begin ! ! Will this roller coaster ride of international adoption ever end ? I never liked roller coasters anyway !! First, I will say that almost two weeks ago we finished our dossier number 1 for our region in Russia! We really got this done in record time. Beginning of last week however, (after all the hard work was over) we recieved additional unexpected devastasting medical news regarding little D.This past week has been nothing short of agony knowing we have to make a very very difficult decision. After immense soul searching,lots of research,conversing with I.A. doctors and prayer we have had to make the hardest decision I think we have ever made! We have had to let him go and put our trust in God to protect him.Once we finally made the decision I felt a peace I can only explain as divine. Even though my heart kept wanting to save little D we knew we were not the right family equipt to do this. His sweet little face has filled our home this past month and my heart aches for him not knowing what his future will hold. Please pray for little D and all those little ones with uncertain futures.This experience is not something I hope to ever have to experience again !It has been simply emotional torture ! The last couple days I have had a constant prayer in my heart to confirm we have done the right thing. Yesterday I recieved word that all invitations to travel to this region in Russia are on hold for many months ! Even though this is generally not good news for others , for us is was an answer to prayer and a confirmation of the most agonizing decision we had to make. It does mean however that we will need to go to another region and I will have once again do another dossier because it is different for each region ! I have asked myself why we have had to have this experience ( among all the other hard knocks this past year) and even though it seems harsh at times I know someday I will get a better understanding. So,what do we do now ? We continue with this journey to find our children in Russia and/or Kyrgyzstan. which ever country comes through first or at all . Honestly, right now I am just trying to keep it together for I am feeling pretty depleted.My friend M found a perfect song to share just how I am feeling called "Be Strong". Thanks M !

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How busy can a week get?

Where do I begin when there are a million things on my list to accomplish! Last summer when we submitted our Dossier for Kyrgyzstan I was so thrilled to be done with the paper chase.I was so exited that I was done done done !! Well, I spoke too soon. We are back in the full blown paper chase for Russia.I am not complaining for it is much more motivating to do this again when you have a cute little face looking back at you and know the sooner you get it done the sooner you go meet him! It IS however an overwhelmimg task to do another 2 dossiers! Russia requires 2- one for MOE and the other for court!
The amazing thing is we have been able to get sooo much done in a very short time! In one week we switched home study agencies, new fingerprints,had a new home study update including a home and safety visit,and had it written up! I mean this new home study agency ROCKS! Plus we have already had our Psych testing that is required for Russia! Much of the other stuff is repeates of Kyrgz so I can do them quicker.I do believe that we can get this first dossier done within two more weeks!On the other hand some things have gone by the wayside.OH Well !

On another note that saddens me greatly is that things in Kyrgysztan seem more uncertain then ever! My heart breaks for the families waiting for the children they hold so deep in their hearts.I do not know what will happen but,my faith and prayers are with all those involved.We too have come soo close to a referral with Kyrgz and yet are soo far with all the changes and uncertainty! What I do know is that God is in charge and he Will lead us in the right course for our family! To my adoption friends Keep the faith!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Adoption Detour ! !

This past week has been very intense with much prayer and thought. Sometimes God leads us to things we do not understand and need to feel his guidance without a shadow of a doubt.Last week out of the blue we recieved a referral of a 1 year old adorable little boy from Russia! We were very surprised to say the least! ! ! We have no paperwork done for Russia!This was not the plan we had but, we know Gods plan is not always ours or at least in the way we think it will happen. We prayed and prayed and prayed and could not think of anything else this whole week! Our minds were so focused on what God wants us to do.We came to the decision that this little boy would be our son.We also came to the decision to remain in the Kyrgz program and do a concurrant adoption if things work out . If two children is Gods plan we will obey.Right now our focus is to get our first Russian dossier in to our Agency with Record time! We are having our homestudy updated to Russia this week and I am working quickly to get documents done. It will be my full time job the next couple weeks.It seems easier this time around since we already did this stuff once!It is however an overwhelming feeling to get this done fast! We ask for your prayers that we will be guided and directed in this journey to our little Siberian prince ! We feel a bit overloaded with this sudden change but, do believe we will also bring home our little one from Kyrgz too. God knows the plan and we will follow it as he presents it to us.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Highs and Lows

The highs for the week are ...
1. I found a good specialty doctor for one of my kids.
2. I get a free day on Saturday when hubby takes the kids skiing to Big Bear.
3. Two different people actually thought my oldest daughter and I were sisters ! Brianna was not too happy about it but, I was. Maybe it was the boots but, I will take it!
4. The kids all did fabulous on their grades this semester.

The lows for the week are ...
1. Nothing new on the adoption front except that 17 high ranking officials in the Kyrgz government have been released from their positions.
2. My dad had a serious fall while walking into the church and broke his pelvis in three places.It is expected to take several months for his recovery and will need to be in a rehab center for up to 8 weeks. Looks like I will be doing some traveling.
3. A not so fun Kidney infection for me.
4. Everything in the house seems to break all at once like the refrigerator,toilet,back door, and gate outside due to our lovely winds.What is up with that?

We will see what next week brings!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Universal Studio Hollywood Fun.

Bryce and Victoria waiting to get into their favorite Jurrasic Park ride at Universal studio in Hollywood.It is a very wet ride so they were covered with their raincoats.V is so exited she is finally tall enough to do the big rides!
Looks like Dad got a shoulder rub from one of the Mummies on the way into the Mummy ride.

Looks like the Shark got Victoria. She is just enjoying exploring the inside of the Sharks mouth.They had a great time and all were tired at the end of the day.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Emergency Preparedness

This time of year it is our family tradition to prepare for earthquakes and other emergencies! On January 17th 1994 our family was living in Northridge ,California when at 4:30 am we were literally jolted out of our beds.The noise and shaking is something I will never forget!! Outside we could hear and see the fire from gas lines in our neighboorhood exploding.Some how we all got out of the house without a scratch! About an hour before the quake hit I woke up and felt an very urgent prompting to get Brianna out of her crib(she was 1 at the time) I had no idea why but,the feeling was so intense that I did it and brought her into our bedroom.Little did I realize a huge heavy bookcase would land right in the middle of the crib where she was sleeping !I will never forget since then to ALWAYS listen to the spirit.Our home suffered such damage we were no longer able to live in it.The bookcases were thrown to the ground, glass was everywhere around us,windows broken, walls severely cracked and nerves shattered! We found out later that we were less then a mile away from the epicenter of the Northridge Quake.

From this experience we always try to be as best prepared as we possibly can.Each year we check our 72 hour kits, our water storage, food storage, flashlights, batteries, matches, first aid kits,radios, etc. We also check and make sure anything heavy is bolted to the walls or ground .We can NEVER be too prepared! We never know when our preparation will pay off.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Watching,Waiting,Wondering and Warm Weather

The last few days have been beautiful here in southern California with the temps being over 80 degrees.The kids had pool fever so I heated up the pool and they had a blast swimming away and warming up in the jacuzzi.

As I am watching kids swim I am wondering what this next year will bring our family.How fun it will be to get out all those baby pool toys and teach another little one to swim and enjoy the water.In regards to our adoption we are watching the developments,waiting patiently (sort of ) for things to get moving again after all the lengthy delays and wondering when all this waiting will end! We have always felt on the right path. Like many other families we will wait it out and see what happens in the next few weeks .Not having specific time frames or expectations does seem to help in this process now so we are not always dissapointed.We have certainly learned the meaning of "rolling with the punches". Let us pray most of the punches are over and the referrals start rolling!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sweet Caroline is 13 !

It is hard to believe my sweet Caroline is an official teenager! We started out our birthday celebration earlier in the day when Mom made her famous homemade ham,potato and leek soup.It simmers all day and by evening it is so good that I ALWAYS catch someone doing
THIS ! Brianna got caught this time.

After the healthy stuff we went to the sweet stuff.Caroline has always been anxious to have a celebration even before it was her time to be born.Despite doctors efforts she took charge and made an early debut in this world. She had many physical hurdles to overcome but has grown into a beautiful , talented , smart , daughter ofGod. I am now realizing we have 3 teenagers !
It is not an easy task to raise teens these days and feel very blessed that they are really good kids!

Happy Birthday Sweet Caroline!